NCCN Guidelines for Patients
Breast Cancer – Locally Advanced (STAGE III)
Almost all women with stage III breast
cancer will receive radiation therapy.
Part 5 explains how radiation therapy
works and where it is needed. It also
provides some details on what to expect
Radiation therapy is a local treatment for breast
cancer. It may be given after surgery to the breast
or chest wall.
See Figure 13
. Nearby lymph nodes
may be treated as well. The purpose of treatment is
to decrease the chance of the cancer returning at the
For stage III breast cancer, radiation therapy uses
high-energy x-rays for treatment. The rays damage
DNA in cancer cells. This either kills the cancer cells
or stops new cancer cells from being made.
A radiation oncologist will oversee your treatment.
A radiation oncologist is a doctor who’s an expert in
treating cancer with radiation. He or she will tailor
treatment to you.
Radiation therapy can be received with some but
not all cancer treatments. It is okay to take HER2
antibodies or endocrine therapy during radiation
therapy. Radiation therapy is usually given after
chemotherapy is finished.
If you are pregnant, don’t start radiation therapy. It
may harm your baby. Start after your baby is born.
Areas of your body where the
cancer may return will be treated.
Radiation may be given to your
breast or chest wall. Lymph
nodes near the breast with cancer
may be treated as well.
internal mammary nodes
breast or chest wall
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